BWW Reviews: Crown Revives I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE
Back in the 90s I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change was one of the most popular revues off-Broadway. At the time it was touted as a great date-night show. It presents two couples who experience the ups and downs of dating, romance and marriage from newlywed bliss to nurturing kids to old age. Couples at every stage find something in it they can relate to, and thus came its overwhelming success. To me, it's a fair show with some beautifully reflective moments and songs, especially in Act II. Crown City Theatre, who rarely disappoint, are currently presenting a slick revival with four dynamite actors/singers under the skilled direction of Gary Lee Reed through October 20.
Most revues work optimally when the music is pleasurable and the message, minimal...and with a good effort toward generating lots of humor. I Love You...is a series of sketches, some serious but all of them laced with an amusing take on the way things are. It starts with the dating scene: "A Stud and a Babe", "Single Man Drought", "Why? 'Cause I'm a Guy" with a heavy emphasis on 'acing natural', 'just be yourself', showing copious amounts of human frailty. One terrific scene "Tear Jerk" has a movie date in which the macho guy falls to pieces, a blubbering idiot. Men in our society are not supposed to cry, so it's one hilarious plug for the unexpected. There's also "He Called Me", akin musically to "He Touched Me" in which a gay man is ecstatic over getting a phone call from the man of his dreams. Another very funny scene involves a Hannibal Lecter type prisoner, who, bound to as dolly as in the movie, delivers a harrowing lecture through song to singles about the perils of...staying single like him, "Hey There, Single Gal/Guy". There follows a wedding with nervous anticipation and Act II follows through with "The Baby Song", where a husband's speech is reduced to gibberish and "Marriage Tango" in which a married couple try to have sex while contending with interrupting children's cries from the other room. There's a great car scene with the kids in the backseat "On the Highway of Love", where the wife admonishes the husband for having a love affair solely with his 'car'.
The very best of the lot comes at the end "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You?", a very Sondheim-like song where a husband just watches his wife at the breakfast table and gloats, as he realizes how fortunate the years have been to him. And..."I Can Live With That", a scene in a cemetery where two widowed oldsters forge an attraction while attending various funerals. It's the unanticipated things in life that seem to mean so much. Even though we try but cannot change a mate, what we do have can turn out to be the greatest treasure.
Under Gary Lee Reed's detailed direction, all four actors shine. Natalie Hope MacMillan (Woman 2) has a lovely voice and has her best turns with "Always a Bridesmaid" and as the old lady in "I Can Live With That". Her partner, for the majority of scenes is Man 1, Craig McEldowney, another great singer who shines throughout, but most especially as the Hannibal character. Woman I, Leigh Golden is just terrific as she prepares nervously yet earnestly to record a video dating tape and her partner Man 2, Chris Cooke has his finest hours as a series of dads.
As musical revues go, this show has a simple message of love and for the most part is enjoyable fare. The Crown production gets its umph and drive from its four standout performer